You don't always have to go so far as to murder your darlings – those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page – but go back and look at them with a very beady eye. Almost always it turns out that they'd be better dead. (Not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect – it's the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.

— Diana Athill

The most surprising Diana Athill quotes that will activate your inner potential

Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK.

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An important aspect of the ebbing of sex was that other things became interesting. Sex obliterates the individuality of young women more often than it does that of young men, because so much more of a woman than a man is used by sex.

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Writing shouldn't come between the reader and what's being described.

It should be as transparent as possible.

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The extension of power offered by a pony, the ease and speed of movement, the tapping of unsuspected courage, the satisfaction of collaboration with another creature and of controlling it in order to improve the collaboration, the joy of fussing over it - of loving it - these, from the age of about eight to sixteen were the most completely realised delights of my life.

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